My boyfriend and I dated 16 years ago, and since that time we have both been divorced and have children from previous relationships. (He has two girls we have every other weekend, and I have two children who live at home with me.)
We met up again last summer and have been living together for about five months now. This is the first healthy relationship I have ever had, and it’s basically great. We don’t have drag out fights, and actually communicate really well. But there is a problem.
I know I love this man, but he has not once said he loves me. He says he’s really fond of me, and it’s hard for him to say he loves me because in past relationships when he did the relationship fell apart. I feel we have been together long enough for him to know I’m trustworthy and am not going anywhere.
Also I should mention that approximately 15 months ago he was charged with rape, which he says was a false accusation. He says it was a one-night stand that unfortunately resulted in a child being born that he has never seen. He is still going through the legal maneuvers as a result of this charge.
I have demonstrated that I stand behind him 100%. So I need to ask you – is it normal for a guy to not say those three little words (I love you) for a long time? I know he cares a lot about me and treats my kids great. It would just be nice to hear those words from him.
There is so much wrong with this picture I barely know where to start. Let me attack the issues I see going on point by point from most worrisome to least.
- Your boyfriend has been charged with rape. The fact that he was investigated and actually charged is of great concern. That means somewhere there is corroborating evidence – or he confessed. The legal definition of rape is very clear. Men often say it was “consensual” when in fact the woman did not give her consent at all due to drugs, liquor, coercive threats, or a desire to only go so far intimately and the male forces himself on her anyway. In January 2012, the Department of Justice clarified the crime of rape with a stronger, more inclusive definition: “The penetration, no matter how slight, of the vagina or anus with any body part or object, or oral penetration by a sex organ of another person, without the consent of the victim.” The fact that there is a child from this assault is very sad, and as the father of the child, your boyfriend will be responsible financially if nothing else. If convicted of this sexual assault, he will be considered a sexual predator, a felony, and could be going away to prison for a few years. He could also be tapped for restitution, all court costs, therapy for the victim, AND child support for all three of his children. Furthermore, he will have to register as a sex offender; having a sexual predator under the roof of your home with minor children will not be allowed chick. Be warned that you could lose custody of your children behind this man.
- Your boyfriend is emotionally unavailable. When men use the excuse that they’ve been hurt before as justification not to give in the here and now, they are running game. Guys lay that crappy line out there all the time, but it’s wholly unacceptable drivel. EVERYONE past the age of 18 has been hurt at least once – he doesn’t have a copyright on pain and heartbreak. But to me, only cowards and players keep mumbling about it, fail to deal with it, and refuse to get on with their lives. Pulling out this excuse is a reasonable-sounding way for a man to give a woman notice that she will not be getting his heart and mind, but if she is content with his body and a few laughs, that’s all he is offering. This guy is just another Mr. Wrong. The fact that this half-baked relationship with a man keeping you at emotional distance is the best one you’ve had saddens me.
- You moved too fast. I am concerned that you jumped into this a bit quickly. Sure you dated almost two decades ago, but people change a lot in 15-20 years! Who is this man NOW? How has what he’s been through changed him? How well could you have truly vetted him in just a few months of him being back in your life? What was wrong with dating him for a year or two or three to make sure everything was as it should be mentally and emotionally BEFORE moving in together? What is the goal with you two living together… marriage? Or is this just a convenience thing for sex and finances? I mean, I’m sure he has a lot more money for legal fees, child support, and whatever else now that you are there helping him make ends meet, right? With all that he has going on in his life, what does he have left to give to you? What are you sacrificing for him to be there?
- Living together under the circumstances is a mistake. I am of the mind that unless a couple has a wedding date set that is within six months, they should not move in together. These arrangements give the male all the convenience of a woman’s love, devotion and body while he gives none of the commitment and has none of the legal obligations a husband has. It’s a very good deal for the men, and it sucks for women and their children. It’s not fair to the children to have them get attached to a man who may very well be a sexual predator, legally barred from seeing or spending time with them ever again after court proceedings are concluded. What were you thinking to get them involved in all this anyway?
I think you need to sit down with this guy and have a very serious talk about the pitfalls you two face as a couple, and those he faces alone. Make a realistic, logical analysis of what’s going on and how it will affect you and your children either way. From my perspective I see you loving a man who doesn’t love you back, emotionally attached to a sexual predator, exposing your minor children to a rapist, and worrying about him saying “I love you” when you need to be loving yourself and your children instead.
I hope you get real clear on this situation and move him out of your life soon. Find a man who is willing and able to love you the way you need him to – with his whole heart. Right now you are settling, focusing on a dream and not the sad reality of who this guy really is.